General Recaptured North of Ringgold
Relive the Great Locomotive Chase all day with Patch.
What if the Internet had existed on this day 150 years ago during the Great Locomotive Chase? It might not be one of the great what-ifs in history, but in honor of the sesquicentennial of James Andrews' raid and William Fuller's pursuit to recapture his General, Marietta Patch and Kennesaw Patch are reliving that day as we might have reported it live. We hope this gets you in the mood to join the commemorations in Marietta and Kennesaw today through Sunday. We thank the Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History for the timeline.
4 p.m. Thanks to a pursuer who jumped off the Texas in Dalton and telegraphed ahead, Confederate troops were ready to join the hunt for the Northerners, and they are being rounded up. The ringleader appears to be a Yankee spy named James J. Andrews.
Back in Marietta, we're getting word that two men who overslept at the Marietta Hotel, Martin Hawkins and John Porter, also have been arrested and tied to the plot to steal the General. All in all, today appears to be a victory for the Confederacy.
1 p.m. The chase is over! The General ran out of steam about two miles north of the Ringgold depot and 21 miles south of Chattanooga.
Before running out of fuel, the train thieves tore open a hole in the back of the rearmost boxcar and began throwing crossties onto the rails to try to stop the Texas. That wasn't too smart (further evidence that these are Yankees) because the metal bars just bounced off the tracks.
We're told that after the General ran out of steam, the crew of train thieves ran off in every direction. We'll let you know when all the Northern raiders are caught.
12:30 p.m. Our sources in Dalton report that the raiders have passed through that city. If the General gets past Chattanooga before the Texas catches up, the Yankees might get away.
12:15 p.m. You're not going to believe this, but William Fuller has taken up the chase by rail again—backward.
Fuller and Anthony Murphy flagged down a southbound locomotive, the Texas, south of Adairsville. The engineer of the Texas, Pete Bracken, backed the train up to Adairsville and dropped off his freight cars, then charged northward without taking time to turn around.
We have word that Fuller, Murphy and a small group of armed men are on the locomotive with Bracken, who has opened up the throttle and is going as fast as 60 mph in reverse to catch the General.
The effort appears to be working: We hear that Fuller caught sight of the General for the first time since Big Shanty somewhere between Calhoun and Resaca.
At the time they were spotted, some of the Yankees were attempting to dismantle a section of railing, but they abandoned the effort and fled aboard the General and the two boxcars when they saw the Texas bearing down on them.
Around 10 a.m. The raiders aboard the General apparently found time to tear up the W&A track, bringing the William R. Smith to a halt. Fuller and company have resumed the pursuit on foot.
9:40 a.m. There's little more than a five-minute gap between the departure of the General and the arrival of the Yonah in Kingston. To get around the same congestion that tied up the General for an hour, Fuller and his team leave behind the Yonah and walk up the line to the William R. Smith, which they use to continue the chase.
9:35 a.m. The score of men believed to have stolen the General have finally cleared a traffic jam, and the train has left Kingston. But the hour they were stuck there could be their undoing with William Fuller now pursuing in a locomotive himself.
9:25 a.m. William Fuller should really make tracks now in trying to recover the General. He has ditched the pushcar in favor of another locomotive, the Yonah, which he commandeered at Etowah.
8:30 a.m. It's become clear that the General was not the victim of random rascals. It's possible the thieves are actually Yankees. We've received word that the General has reached Kingston, where the train is being delayed while waiting for southbound trains to pass.
8 a.m. The pursuit continues. We're not sure where the train is, but we're told that after chasing the General on foot for two miles, William Fuller commandeered a pushcar near Moon's Station to help close the gap.
6 a.m. Bulletin: We have received word that the General is on the loose. Details are sketchy right now, but it appears that while the locomotive with its six-car train was stopped in Big Shanty for 20 minutes so the crew and passengers could get some breakfast at the Lacy Hotel, the scallawags struck.
Someone unhooked the three cars with passengers from the rest of the train, and the General then chugged away from the Big Shanty depot with its tender and two boxcars in tow.
We have it on good authority that the early-morning crowd had quite a few laughs at the sight of the General leaving its crew and passengers behind. Imagine the humorous scene as young conductor William Fuller, engineer Jeff Cain and foreman Anthony Murphy ran up the Western & Atlantic tracks in pursuit of their General.
We can only assume that recruits from Camp McDonald had a loss of faith in the glorious cause of the Confederacy and absconded with the train, or perhaps some other rascals took the locomotive on a joy ride.
5:15 a.m. Passengers have boarded the train at the station in Marietta, close to the Fletcher House Hotel, where we note that 20 men who arrived late last night slept a few hours before buying tickets for various destinations along the northbound route. Fortunately, a locomotive as strong as the General should give them a smooth ride so they can get some rest.
4 a.m. The General, the mighty locomotive that's the pride of the Confederacy despite being Yankee-built, has departed Atlanta with a train of passengers bound for points north in Georgia.
We hear that William Fuller, just three days shy of his 26th birthday, is at the helm of the General as conductor. We expect to see Fuller and his steam engine in Marietta in about an hour.
Share your thoughts on the General in the comment space below.
For more about the Great Locomotive Chase, check out these articles:
- The Great Locomotive Chase is repremiering at the Strand.
- Check out a clip of the film.
- The Marietta Museum of History features the women of Marietta during the Civil War.
- Author Clint Johnson will sign his book on blunders of the Civil War.
- Here are the events Kennesaw is holding to mark the anniversary.
- A Medal of Honor awarded for Andrews' Raid comes to the Southern Museum.
- Relive the battle to bring the General home to Kennesaw.
- Kennesaw native Joe Bozeman tells the story of his great-grandfather, a passenger on the General's train April 12, 1862.